The Bush administration is getting ready to change again the often wobbling and waffling reasons why we are waging war in Iraq. In the New York Times on Saturday, a profile of a new military commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, included a paragraph about other changes besides personnel:
I interpret this new goal as using our soldiers to act as a referee in a civil war. If this will be the new role for our soldiers, I hope that the president spells this out plainly in the speech about Iraq that he is expected to deliver Wednesday. But, I am going to predict right here that we hear phrases such as "cannot accept defeat" and "global war on terror" more often than we hear the phrase "civil war."
The overarching goal of the American military operation may be altered as well. Under General Casey, the principal focus has been on transferring security responsibilities to the Iraqi security forces, so American troops could gradually withdraw. Now, the emphasis will shift to
protecting the Iraqi population from sectarian strife and insurgent attacks.